Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Latin American Looney Tunes

Reading the New York Times the other day, I learned that there had been an Argentina-Brazil soccer match to qualify for the World Cup. Brazil won 3-1. They had footage of the goals, so I watched. All of a sudden I see a stonefaced Diego Maradona in the sidelines. And I'm thinking, what's he doing there? Is he the official mascot of the Argentinean team? Turns out he's the coach! This to me is in a nutshell a perfect example of the utter incapacity of our Latin American countries to get with the program.
Maradona was a gifted player and an even more gifted major, world class, fuck up. Who in his right mind would think that this guy is fit to be the coach of the national soccer team? Only a people rooted in self-mythologizing, which is what our countries do best.  Getting a grip on practical matters is a different story. The result bears me out. Argentina, one of the greatest teams in the world and multiple World Champion, is apparently not going to the World Cup. Serves them right. Idiots.
2. The New York Times, instead of reporting on the increasingly scary water shortages in Mexico City, decides to do a piece on how Mexico is becoming a record holder for sundry imbecilities in the Guiness Book of World Records. They have made the biggest meatball, and the biggest torta, the most couples kissing on Valentine's Day, had the world's largest fat man (who lost 500 lbs and now wants to be the guy who lost the most weight), and the biggest cheesecake. And some genius in the article claims that Mexico wants to be "world class". Well how about instead of giant cheesecakes, start coming up with better policies, better education, a higher standard of living, and a law abiding state that is not rotten with corruption and cynicism? Geez!
3. From Mexico to poor Oliver Stone and his paean to lefty Latin American governments, his new film South of the Border. The Venezuelans who oppose Chavez are furious with Stone for rendering Chavez as a hero (which he is, let me remind you, mostly to those who happen to be piss poor, which happen to be the majority of people in Venezuela). The Chavez haters claim Stone got paid for making this piece of commie agitprop. I don't think he was paid. He has always been sympathetic to lefty causes in Latin America (remember Salvador?). His entire career is a provocation against American power and influence: Wall Street, Salvador, Born on the fourth of July, Platoon, JFK... Didn't he shoot a glowing documentary about Fidel a few years back, which by the way, no one ever saw stateside? With all due respect, people who don't like Chavez and Evo and Lula, etc, should understand that if these lefties are in power, 1) this is a direct consequence of benighted American foreign policy in the region. And 2) Stone is not being paid or coerced or brainwashed. He is entitled to his sympathies, whether one thinks they are misguided or not.

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